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German Police Arrest Possible US Attack Suspect - 2001-09-13

German police arrested Thursday a man believed connected to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The police are also investigating links with two men named in the United States as suspects in the hijackings.

Police in the German port city of Hamburg said they had arrested an airport worker after searching apartments during the night.

They were careful not to identify the man or exactly what his job was, and did not make clear whether he would be released or charged.

Although the man had been living in Germany legally, the police said the arrest was in connection with the investigation with the terror attacks in New York and Washington Tuesday.

The arrest came after a police search of other apartments including one where other suspects in the attack had lived and studied.

Working on a lead from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, German police had been looking for evidence about Mohammed Atta and Marwan Yusef Mohammed Alshadi. The two men from the United Arab Emirates are named in the United States as having been passengers on two of the hijacked planes.

They and one other passenger on the list had also lived in Germany legally and kept a low profile, police said. And they had been enrolled in the city's Technical University, where they had been studying electronics.

Two other men had shared the apartment with them. But it had been empty for some time and renovations had made the search for evidence more difficult.

German Chief Prosecutor Kay Nehm said his department was also investigating a Hamburg-based Islamic group.

The Bild Zeitung newspaper, which is usually well informed on police and intelligence matters, quoted a local intelligence chief as saying there was a network of people in Hamburg who were considered to have links with Osama bin Laden.

Authorities in the United States say the people who hijacked the planes used in the attacks Tuesday have been linked to suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. However, there still is no definitive word on who is responsible for the attacks.